Sophie Smith

Sophie Smith is finishing a book about women and the history of ideas.


Women in Philosophy

25 April 2024

Sophie Smith writes: In my five years as a graduate student, I remember only two talks at our weekly seminar that addressed the ideas of a woman. One was by Sarah Hutton. It was the first time I recall hearing someone take an early modern woman philosophically seriously. Hutton has been a tireless advocate for the importance of early modern women thinkers and is among the scholars whose ‘determination’...

Women in philosophy​ have always needed a special stroke of luck. Like men, they have usually had to be well-born, well-off, talented and – in the European tradition at least – white. But most women philosophers before the late 20th century needed something more: access to a man who held the uncommon view that women – or at least certain women – could be serious...


Certain Women

7 September 2023

It is certainly the case, as Colin Kidd suggests in his piece about Catharine Macaulay, that the Cambridge School approach to the history of political thought has led to a more general openness to non-canonical figures, including certain women, among scholars in that subdiscipline (LRB, 7 September). (Kidd doesn’t mention that Macaulay is only the fifth woman among the more than 120 authors in the...

No Right

13 April 2023

Anthony Grafton, writing about Charles Lamb, invokes the pleasures and possibilities afforded by the New York Public Library for generations of readers, including his father who, when depressed, ‘would visit the print room and look at a Dürer’ (LRB, 13 April). On 4 April, the office of the mayor, Eric Adams, who was elected on the promise of serving working-class New Yorkers, announced potential...
From The Blog
17 December 2021

bell hooks was scathing about academic feminism’s turn towards, as she saw it, an obscurantist postmodernism. But she thought that denying the usefulness of theory tout court and denying the status of ‘theory’ to the work of Black and other marginalised women were two sides of the same anti-intellectual coin. Theory was itself a form of practice, a collective project of naming and meaning-making with liberatory potential.

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